Along my journey of life — having two children, losing a husband, starting a nonprofit (The Packaged Good), running businesses for and consulting for companies such as Spanx, Carter’s, Home Depot and Coca-Cola, living in different cities, traveling to different countries — I have learned that giving to yourself and giving to others is the highest form of good.

Giving is powerful. Studies have shown that there is healing power in giving.

In the Journal of Economic Psychology in 2014, Baris Yörük found that giving to others reduced stress and strengthened the immune system.¹

A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves.²

According to a University of California, Berkeley, study in 1999, people who were 55 and older who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t volunteer.³

Teenagers who participated in volunteer activities on their own had 11 percent fewer illegal behaviors between the ages of 18 and 28 than teenagers who did not volunteer, 31 percent fewer arrests and 39 percent fewer convictions, according to a University of Iowa study released this year.4

So why don’t people think to incorporate giving into their lives as they do exercise, meditation or even brushing their teeth?

I surely didn’t at the beginning of my life journey. I was focused on success, a house, a career and things. Nothing like a tragedy, perhaps a flood or a death, to reset and remind you what is most important in life.

I started The Packaged Good almost a year ago to create a platform to empower the community and kids of all ages to give more through community and private events such as birthday parties, Scouts, youth groups and more. We host events to support natural disasters, local homeless people, soldiers internationally, refugees and seniors in our community.

Recently, we hosted an event for Texas, and over 400 people came out to pack care packages and fill a 26-foot truck with supplies.

We’ve sent over 17,000 care packages around the world to children in Haiti, soldiers in China and our neighbors in need in Georgia. I hope that’s only the beginning.

As we approach a new year, I hope you’ll join me, our new executive director, Samantha Kurgan, and The Packaged Good team to make this year a good year and help us make a difference in our own community, the world and you.

Sally Mundell is the founder of The Packaged Good.

References

  1. Yörük, Baris. Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 45, December 2014, pages 71-83. “Does giving to charity lead to better health?”
  2. Norton, Michael, Elizabeth Dunn, Lara Aknin. Science, “Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness”
  3. 1999 UC Berkeley Study on Volunteerism and Health
  4. Ranapurwala, Shabbar, Springer Open, “Volunteering in adolescence and young adulthood crime involvement: a longitudinal analysis from the add health study.”